I was in a long distance relationship for several years, so I know that staying connected to your huggle bear can be hard. You want to touch them, smell them and, if you’re me, bite their ear. Why don’t the forces of geography and physics rally to both your cries and fold the world up like origami until the front doors of your homes kiss?
But they don’t and won’t, so what are your exquisite selves supposed to do? I hope I can give you some idea of where to begin. We were big on gifts, digital and corporeal, so I’ll focus on that and end with a little advice.
1. Care packages or gift baskets are the bee’s knees. Fill them with the other person’s favorite candies and snacks, or make a creative reference out of the foodables. For example, my girl was a big Star Wars fan so I made sure to pack in Dagoba-brand dark chocolate. She liked Cherry Limeade and, since you can’t send that in the mail, included in the box was a grocery store gift card with a note that read simple “For Cherry Limeades.” Buy sticker packets with letters in them and spell out messages all around the box. Put pictures of you, or more intimately: put in a picture of your hand, your smiling mouth, your sexy shoulder, even your…umm…ear. Ear, yes.
2. Put a handwritten card inside, and be sure to send cards randomly from time to time. Or if one of you has exams or some multi-day, soul-sucking, blergh-arggh thing, mail out a letter every day of the event. When they get home, there’ll be a note welcoming them in from their figuratively rainy day. If you’re both big goofs, pick up these postcard books, which have lovingly lewd messages combined with baby animal pictures.
(If you get along with their folks, remember their birthdays and make sure they get cards, too.)
3. If you’re both sarcastic snarkers, someecards.com is the right gift every time. They have a user-created section so you can build a treasure trove of heartfelt offenses. If you know each other’s username and you’ve both made quite a collection, go to their user page and look through their caustic creations from time to time and exhale fondly.
4. Mail each other a copy of your favorite book. For the bookmark, make it a picture of you holding their favorite book. This also works if you start a book club of two for you and you. Chat about what you read. Make notes in it (or any book) about feels the book inspires in you, or about passages you want to share with your significant O, and then mail them this book.
5. Buy a webcam, don’t settle for the one built into your laptop. Those usually have lower video quality that can make your baby feel further away, or as if they’re not really there in that room (which they are, sweetness. They absolutely are). I recommend a Logitech Webcam Pro 9000, which you can get on the cheap-cheap via eBay, usually for well under $30. It has good A/V quality, plus a nice stand for placing on your monitor or by itself. One couple I knew would leave the webcam on at all times so they could see the other coming and going, or listen to each other’s breathing while they did work.
6. Flowers and a poem.
7. Pick shows and movies and TV events (like the Presidential Debate) to instant message each other during. Many IM applications keep logs of your conversations which you can go back and read later for free warm fuzzies.
8. Start email chains to each other with things like “remind me to tell you about X.” Share calendars to find a free five minutes to call them and say hi. Share documents about things like places you want to travel with each other, food you want to cook for each other, or a playlist of songs you both agree you love.
9. Hold onto tokens that remind you of them, like a movie ticket, and mail it to them later on.
11, AskMen (I know, right) had a neat idea for phone sex: a hands-free device. And LovingFromADistance.com suggested using FutureMe.org to send letters to be delivered at any future date you want. Write them a diary entry of how happy they made you today and have it delivered six months or six years from now.
12. Lastly, practical advice. In your conversations: stay positive, talk about the good things in your day. About the good things the other person gives you. Because once you start saying “I miss you” more than “I love you,” you are walking the bad path. You are walking the path where you talk more about how hard this is than anything else. These are the woods. The woods have few exits.
13. Finally really lastly, set an end date and stick to it. Give yourself and them something to shoot for. Don’t keep moving that date, instead move Heaven and Earth to keep it. You’re always almost there. I promise.
Love this article! Was there meant to be a link to the “postcard books” that were mentioned?
We started a notebook/journal and are sending it back and forth. Even though we text every day and try to call/skype a couple times a week, writing things (like feelings) is a lot easier for both of us than saying things. Plus, sending the notebook back and forth allows us to keep everything all together in order, rather than sending individual letters.
It was her idea. She’s a bigger sap than she lets on. (I hope she reads this comment bwahaha)
She’s also a really good baker and I get boxes of baked goods a lot. It’s fantastic.
My dyslexia skewed that last part and I thought you said “She’s also a really good banker…” I was really excited for you for a sec. I was like “Your financials are gonna be on point. Good for you boo boo.” But pastries are just as good so yay for you anyway.
Man, that WOULD be excellent.
I was in a LDR for 8months and we left our Skype on at all times. It’s true just hearing her breathe or the creaks in her room made me feel comforted. We would actually Skype on our phones occasionally while we were out grocery shopping or at the dentist. It really helped in making it feel like we were there with each other and involved in the everyday aspects of each others life. Unfortunately we got into the woods and found separate ways out, but hey it happens.
“we got into the woods and found separate ways out” is beautiful and perfectly describes my most painful, necessary breakup.
My honey and I lived together until a week ago when we started the long distance thing.
This article could not have been better timed. Thanks.
“Don’t keep moving that date, instead move Heaven and Earth to keep it”
Thanks for this list, I’m always on the lookout for new ideas I can try to make sure my transatlantic LDR continues to be awesome :D
A few of of the things on that list don’t work for relationships where the people are in different countries/very different time zones. Snail mail post is definitely brilliant but not always easy to manage across an ocean, so I like sending my girlfriend ‘Internet presents’ – basically I randomly spam her with stuff I saw on the Internet that I think she would also like, which usually means interesting articles or funny/cute pictures of animals (heavily skewed towards the latter).
I agree… transatlantic LDR are another story!
However… my amazing gf is always finding ways to surprise me. She has had slowers delivered to my house, and last week when i was at home nursing a poorly baby she had a Tesco delivery sent to my house with goodies and soups for us both. That’s right… romantic, thoughtful AND romantic.
I would soooo love to send baked goods, but transatlantic shipping is not a friend of cookies remaining edible.
Try it, you might be surprised! When I lived in the South Pacific, my grandma sent me homemade shortbread a few times. It took anywhere from six weeks to six months to reach me, but was always still edible (if completely crumbled).
I agree, you should try it.
i love you this is perfect thank you so much
First off, so grateful for new ideas to do!! Sometimes everything falls into routine and you get stuck in this rut without ideas for something new and exciting!
Can’t believe I didn’t see this post til today. O.o LDR for almost 5 years now, I know it has been taking a LOOOOONG time. We’re hanging in there and yes we’re sticking an ‘end date’ to this LDR thing soon. I have flowers/chocolates/care packages every year delivered for not just her but also her family around the holidays which is also near her birthday. This year I was thinking pizza. Pizza Hut apparently does that now in my home country.
With apps today like viber and wechat sending text messages and pix aren’t so much an issue like before. We like to send each other pix of what we’re eating whether it be B,L,D. Even snack time counts! Then when we see something really cool and awesome we send pix. On wechat, if you both have front cams you can have video calls much like facetime. We basically fall asleep on cam to each other. I usually wake up with the phone off from a drained battery life but I remember waking up one time and seeing her still asleep..not the same as real time but I’d take it any day of this LDR.
We also keep a journal/notebook and give to the other when we see each other. It seems redundant but I know there are memories worth repeating and things worth writing down. This year I’ve gotten a leather journal from Etsy. It has some nice thick paper that just inspires me.
“Finally really lastly, set an end date and stick to it. Give yourself and them something to shoot for. Don’t keep moving that date, instead move Heaven and Earth to keep it. You’re always almost there. I promise.”
Then I read this again and tears sprung up in my eyes. We’re almost there. =,)
I’m single,I’m from NJ, I have nice handwriting and I’m pretty punctual…Just throwing that out there.
That whole “just the two of you book club” is the cutest thing I’ve ever heard. Stealing that idea for the LDR I don’t have.
Morgan, thank you for writing this.
(It’s super topical for me too. I met someone at May Camp.)
Getting involved with someone before moving continents. Always a winner. My exchange rate limits me to postcards. Its a disaster.
Could be worse. You could be going to a place without mail.
IT’LL BE OK!! :)
“once you start saying “I miss you” more than “I love you,” you are walking the bad path. You are walking the path where you talk more about how hard this is than anything else. These are the woods. The woods have few exits.”
so true. thanks for this article!
But what if you’re still in this situation?…
I almost think that when we say “I miss you” it’s our phrase of affection. Or something. Because the first time we said it, it was more like, “Wow, I really miss you. This is crazy. This feeling.” etc.
Now I’m going to be thinking about this all night.
we have weekly skype dates where we simultaneously watch Game of Thrones. It’s bit tricky to set up all the webcams, ipads, etc, but it’s so nice to be able to see and hear her reaction as we watch the shower “together”!
er, the SHOW. not the shower
No no, you’re absolutely right:
Point 14. Showercam.
Can someone help this new kid out by saying a little more/explaining why the “I miss you”s can end up being problematic?
Sorry … screwed up that account set-up. This is me … at least as best as I’ll put here. :)
The more you say ‘i miss you’ the more you have a tendency to look for someone else to fill in the stuff you miss about someone? I think that when you say ‘i love you’ more, you’re both more focused on the relationship rather on the idea of you two being far apart.
Skype would be so lovely, alas 3rd world internet…documenting everyday life in photo….inappropriate use of work computers.
I guess its how you define those words, some people seem to throw them out like toppings on a pizza.
that lovingfromadistance site actually has some other cute ideas for activities so you can show it to your partner and pick out activities that both of you want to try. :3
my partner and i aren’t big on snail mail things (they’re totally adorable but we’re both kinda lazy so it’s not happening) but we text a lot via whatsapp. it’s free and you can send voice/video clips too.
also we recently rediscovered our interest in chess and like to have a game going while we’re g chatting.
sending yr partner mixtapes in their preferred format is pretty swoon-worthy
I’m in a long distance relationship right now and it’s probably one of the most heartbreaking things I’ll know to wake up in the morning without my SO next to me. THese are some really cute ideas, I’m stealing these. Hopefully she doesn’t see this comment and realize my evil plans, haha
I so love this article,thanks so much for the information. me and my gf are really looking forward to meet one another next yr after my graduation from uni. our relationship is getting to a yr now